Born in 1769, Charles Bullen entered the Royal Navy in 1779 on board Vice Arbuthnot's flagship HMS Europe then serving on the North American station in support of Great Britain's efforts to suppress the American Revolution. After the Revolution's end, he moved to European waters serving mostly in the Mediterranean. Bullen received his lieutenant's commission on 9 August 1791 and, by 1794, was serving in HMS Ramillies in which ship he took part in Lord Howe's great victory, the Glorious First of June. In 1797, he served in HMS Monmouth, one of the ships involved in the mutiny at Nore that year.
Still in Monmouth, Lt. Bullen participated in the Battle of Camperdown on 11 October. Dispatched to take possession of the Dutch ship Delft during that action, he found her about to sink but remained with her looking after the wounded until she sank. For his service at Camperdown, Bullen was promoted to commander on 2 January 1798. Given command of the sloop Wasp in 1801, he took her to the west coast of Africa where he cruised until posted captain on 29 April 1802. Capt. Bullen became flag captain to Lord Northesk in 1804 and commanded Northesk's flagship HMS Britannia in Lord Nelson's celebrated victory at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. Between 1807 and 1811, he commanded two frigates, HMS Volontaire and HMS Cambrian, successively along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Spain. In 1814, Capt. Bullen returned to North American waters in command of the 50-gun HMS Akbar, cruising that station until 1817. His next sea duty came in 1824 when he broke his commodore's pennant in HMS Maidstone to take command of a squadron on the west coast of Africa until 1827. His last assignment afloat came in July 1830 when he became commanding officer of the yacht Royal Sovereign, though he spent much of his time ashore because the posting was concurrent with that of superintendent of the Pembroke dockyard. Capt. Bullen held those two offices until the beginning of 1837 at which time he was promoted to rear admiral. Though advanced in rank to vice admiral on 9 November 1846 and to admiral on 30 July 1852, Sir Charles Bullen never went to sea again. He died on 2 July 1853.
(BDE-78: dp. 1,400; l. 306'0"; b. 36'10"; dr. 10' 9"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 200; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 8 20mm., 4 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Buckley)
BDE-78 was laid down on 17 May 1943 at Hingham, Mass., by the Bethlehem Steel Corp.; launched on 17 August 1943; transferred to the United Kingdom on 25 October 1943 and commissioned in the Royal Navy as Bullen (K. 460). During World War II, Bullen earned her "battle honors" serving exclusively in the Atlantic. While operating to the north of Scotland, she ran across the outbound U-775, which torpedoed and sank her on 16 December 1944.
Raymond A. Mann
23 November 2005